May 21, 2003
BuzzFlash asks Greg Palast: "What About Saudi Arabia? How Come the Birthplace, Chief Financier and Illicit Supporter of Al-Qaeda Gets a Free Pass from the Bush Cartel?"
A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW
BuzzFlash has been contending all along that the Bush Cartel is pretty much conducting a "show war" on terrorism whose goals are Bush's re-election and financial rewards for companies that fund the coffers of the GOP and the Bush campaign. The war on terror is really just a secondary goal of the Bush Cartel, after the first two goals are met.
Nothing illustrates this theory more than the Bush Cartel's cover-up of Saudi Arabian involvement in the creation, financing and illicit support for Al-Qaeda.
Greg Palast has been intrepid in uncovering the role of the Bush Cartel in ignoring and covering-up for Saudi Arabia. This is BuzzFlash's fifth interview with Greg. He is the author of the best-selling book "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: The Truth About Corporate Cons, Globalization and High-Finance Fraudsters." [LINK]
In regards to how the Bush Cartel has endangered us all by not taking on the country that has links to Al-Qaeda, Greg has conducted extensive research. Here are two of his stories:
And here is the BuzzFlash.com exclusive interview with Greg Palast on the Bush Cartel, Al-Qaeda and Saudi Arabia.
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BUZZFLASH: Greg, is there more than meets the eye in regards to the U.S. military pullout of Saudi Arabia following the U.S. invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime?
GREG PALAST: No one has had the guts to say it: Our Braveheart war hero President caved in to the terrorists. Pulling our troops out of Saudi Arabia was Al-Qaeda demand Number One. So, while our Dear President is doing his "Top Gun" landing on the aircraft carrier, he's ordering the most cowardly, craven, gutless act by a Commander in Chief in memory: effectively getting on bended knee to Osama bin Laden and saying, "Your wish is my command."
BUZZFLASH: So then why the recent car bombings in Saudi Arabia, given that all the evidence is pointing to Al-Qaeda?
PALAST: That's what happens when you give in to terrorists –- they don’t say, "Thank you." They kill again and demand more. In this case, Bush got cute . . . although Bush is pulling out troops, he's keeping 500 specialists there to act as a kind of Praetorian guard for the House of Saud. Apparently, Osama doesn't go along with that deal.
And let's remember motives for kow-towing to Osama's wishes: while Bush is basking in the glow of being the self-appointed "Liberator of Baghdad," another deadly attack on the United States would destroy his whole claim that we're "safer" now that we've chased away Saddam. Another deadly attack in the US could put Bush II into his father’s shoes . . . electoral road kill. Hence, the signal to Al-Qaeda that we will give in a wee bit to their demands. The problem with Bush's gambit of playing footsy with Al-Qaeda is that it's dumb, it's dangerous, and it's spineless.
BUZZFLASH: Your book, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," highlights the cozy connection the Bush family has had with the bin Laden family. What should people know about this relationship and its impact and consequences on terrorism, money, and oil?
PALAST: The public should know it all. Dan Rather said, on the program I work on at BBC TV, that he can't ask tough questions on US television. Well, in England, and in the book I can and do ask the tough questions about this connection. And Question One is, "Why were the bin Ladins (except "black sheep" Osama) and other Saudi billionaires forbidden territory for intelligence agencies before September 11, 2001? I explain to our readers how George W. Bush shut down CIA and FBI investigations into Saudi terrorist network financing schemes. What did the George W. Bush have to gain by closing "both eyes" to this threat?
For the answer we have to go back to the oil patch in Midland, Texas, where a failed oil man named George W. Bush kept punching dry holes in Texas while looking for oil and failing to find any. Bush Junior nearly went belly up –- until he was saved by mysterious money from the Gulf. By "mysterious," I mean there was no good business reason for investors to save his business bacon. In his first business failure -– Arbusto ("Shrub" in Spanish) Oil -- he was saved by cash from James Bath, the investment advisor to Salim bin Ladin (usually spelled, "Binladden").
His third company was saved by Sheik Abdullah Bakhsh, the Saudi billionaire, and by the Emirate of Bahrain which offered Bush's company an extraordinary off-shore oil concession. Bush's teeny-weeny Texas dry-land operation was chosen over Amoco Oil.
I'm actually writing this from Midland where George Dubya first ventured into the oil patch. The petroleum guys here laugh at the idea that Bush's company Harken got the Bahrain deal because of their skill –- it was solely the Gulf Arabs way of buying their way into the son of the President of the United States (Bush Sr. was holding office then).
Then there's Poppy Bush, in the employ of Carlyle, the arms dealer, as representative to Asia and the Saudis. Carlyle was partly backed by the Binladdins and the Saudi royal family.
Why is this important? The fact that our President would probably have gone bust without Gulf royal pay-outs created a poisonous situation -– far worse than our worries about the political contamination created by political donations. It influenced a policy that ordered our intelligence agencies to say, "Hands off the Saudis, hands off the Persian Gulf potentates, we must not annoy them with investigations of their funding terrorist groups."
Understand that much of the money paid by the Saudis was not to support Al-Qaeda but extorted by Osama as a kind of protection pay-off: here's some loot, now leave our Rolls Royces alone in Riyadh and go play in Afghanistan.
BUZZFLASH: Does it seem to you that the payoffs to Osama by the Saudi Royal family to leave the kingdom alone from terrorist attacks have run out?
PALAST: No, the bombings were likely a delinquency note -– same as the Khobar Towers bombing. (I don't mean to be a tease with that answer but you'll just have to read Chapter 2 of my book.)
BUZZFLASH: One of the most powerful and lucrative defense contract firms is the Carlyle Group. This group has several powerful partners and executives including former president, George Bush Sr., former Secretary of State James Baker, former Bush Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci, and until 9/11, members of the bin Laden family. Give our readers some background on the Carlyle Group and how lucrative the company has become since 9/11.
PALAST: Carlyle didn't need 9/11 to become lucrative. Minimal investments by these equity partners have returned an average of $25 million to each. Not bad for a bunch of politicos selling their Rolodexes. The bin Ladens sold their interest in October 2001 -– the embarrassment factor was at work here. Saudi Prince Waleed bin Talal employed Carlyle as investment banker in his purchase of 10% of Citicorp's preferred stock. The choice of Carlyle for the high-fee work was odd, as the group is not an investment bank. One would almost think the Saudi potentate wanted to enrich Carlyle's connected payrollers.
BUZZFLASH: Let's switch gears and talk about Iraq. Your book, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" could be the title of the campaign by U.S. and British firms to win contracts to "rebuild Iraq." Halliburton, Dick Cheney's former company before leaving as CEO to become the Vice President, was granted lucrative contracts without even bidding against other firms. It seems we're witnessing kickbacks to firms that contributed heavily to George W. Bush's presidential campaign. British Prime Minister Tony Blair is fighting for British firms to get in on their piece of the pie. Instead of "rebuilding Iraq" are we witnessing the outright fleecing of Iraq by corporate power and greed?
PALAST: You're too kind. It's far worse than you portray it. I've received a copy of a 101 page document from inside the US State Department which lays out the plan for reshaping Iraq as an Anglo-American Disneyland, free of rules, regulations or corporate taxes . . . and shorn of its oil. ("Mass privatization" is planned; i.e., post-war fire-sale sell-offs.) By the way, let me credit the Wall Street Journal for first uncovering this . . . but, except for their first article, no US paper or –- heaven forbid -- US television network, has looked into the horrid, greed-soaked details. Stay tuned to my site and reports for details.
BUZZFLASH: Do you think the presence of U.S. and British military and corporate interests in Iraq will fuel the agenda of Al-Qaeda to attack U.S. interests?
PALAST: When our President spoke to the Iraqi people, the first words out of his mouth were, "Do not destroy oil wells." I'm sure that's on all the Al-Qaeda recruitment posters –- with the Halliburton logo.
BUZZFLASH: The Bush administration found an answer to all its problems in one big swoop by invading Iraq. Rather than being able to account for Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda, the dismal U.S. economy, the erosion of U.S. civil liberties, the advancement of the right-wing agenda, tax cuts for the rich, the oil fields in Iraq as well as the entire country just waiting to be pillaged, the U.S. will now have to deal with this potentially explosive "blowback." It was sold to the American people on the premise that Iraq supported Al-Qaeda in the attack on 9/11, which even the CIA admitted was untrue. Now that Al-Qaeda appears to have resurfaced by attacking Saudi Arabia, do you have faith that the American people will start to unravel the heap of lies that the Bush administration is built on?
Will Americans begin to question the Bush administration's "war on terror" as well as the administration's disastrous shutting down of inquiries into Saudi Arabia's role, including the wife of a Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. who sent thousands of dollars to an alleged supporter of one of the 9/11 hijackers? You even detail how the Bush Cartel allowed bin Laden relatives to fly out of the U.S. on a private plane just after 9/11. And Bush made Americans believe the 9/11 hijackers were from Iraq when the leaders and 15 of them were from Saudi Arabia.
PALAST: Americans aren't as dumb as we look, are we. After all, Americans would have never voted a guy like George W. Bush into office.
A BUZZFLASH INTERVIEW
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Past BuzzFlash interviews with Greg Palast:
Greg Palast, Author of "Best Democracy Money Can Buy," Exposes the Continued Suppression of Florida's Black Vote in Election 2002 - November 4, 2002 [LINK]
Greg Palast, In Which He Reveals The Letter He Received From Katherine Harris, Cruella Herself - June 6, 2002 [LINK]
Greg Palast, BBC Investigative Reporter and Author of "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy" - March 11, 2002 [LINK]
BuzzFlash asks Greg Palast: "What the Heck is Going on With Tony Blair?" - February 11, 2003 [LINK]
otherwise noted, all original